The 9 Best Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees 2022 - MrLiambi's blog

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Friday, 4 November 2022

The 9 Best Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees 2022

If you're planning a trip out of the U.S., you've probably started to worry about how you're going to pay for things once you get there.

To avoid running around with a pocket full of cash â€" a situation we DON'T recommend â€" a no foreign transaction fee credit card might be your solution.

No foreign transaction fees means you can pay for things without being dinged for the privilege of using a foreign bank.

However, most credit cards do charge foreign transaction fees, so we've gathered a list of the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards on the market to meet your traveling needs.

The Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card: Best Overall
  • Capital One Venture X Credit Card: Best Premium Travel Cards
  • American Express Gold Credit Card: Best for Foodies
  • Discover it Cashback Credit Card: Best for No Annual Fee
  • Capital One QuickSilver Credit Cash Rewards: Best for Simple Cash Back
  • United Explorer Credit Card: Best Airline Credit Card
  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Best for Business Travelers
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards Card for Students: Best for Students
  • Petal 1 'No Annual Fee' Credit Card: Best for Bad Credit

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Best Overall
starstarstarstarstar
5 out of 5 Overall
Key Features
  • 60K sign-up bonus points
  • $50 annual hotel credit
The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is our overall winner for the best no foreign transaction fee credit card because it has good reward rates, a lucrative sign up bonus, and lots of peace of mind travel perks to keep you protected while you travel.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Chase Logo
Annual Cost
$95
Regular APR
18.24-25.24% variable APR
Reward Rate
1 - 5 points per $1
Credit Score
Good to excellent credit (670 and higher)
More Information about Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card offers a whopping 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You then get 2x points on all other travel purchases, 3x points on online grocery purchases, dining purchases, and streaming services, and 1x points on all other purchases. Plus, for a limited time, you'll get 5x points on Lyft (until March 31, 2025). 

When you're ready to cash in your points, you can log on to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to any of Chase's 11 airline partners or 3 hotel partners. However, you'll get more value booking travel on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website because your points are worth 25% more when you book through Chase. 

This 25% value addition also amplifies your sign up bonus. When you sign up, you'll receive 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. With the 25% increase, these points are worth approximately $750 when redeemed for travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. 

Chase also rewards you for booking hotels through their website with their annual hotel credit. You can receive up to $50 in statement credits each year if you purchase hotels through Ultimate Rewards. 

As if all that wasn't enough, to top it off you'll get 10% of your total points back each anniversary as a reward for keeping your credit card account open. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card of course has no foreign transaction fee for international purchases, but it doesn't offer any Global Entry reimbursement or airport lounge access which is a bummer. 

However, you do get Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, extended warranty protection, and purchase protectionâ€"some nice perks if you're using this card for an oversea adventure but you want to keep it from becoming too adventurous. 

Capital One Venture X Credit Card

Best Premium Travel Card
starstarstarstarhalf star
4.5 out of 5 Overall
Key Features
  • 75,000 bonus miles with eligible purchases
  • 10,000 anniversary miles bonus
The Capital One Venture X credit card offers lots of premium perks and credits that help make up for the hefty annual cost.
Capital One Venture X Credit Card
Capital One Logo
Annual Cost
$395
Regular APR
19.99% - 26.99% variable APR
Reward Rate
2 - 10 points per $1
Credit Score
Excellent (750 and above)
More Information about Capital One Venture X Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X credit card claims to be an elevated rewards card and, for the most part, it delivers. 

First off, you get 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of the account opening. 

This large sign up bonus isn't the end of Capital One's bonus points, with 10,000 points each account anniversary year. Plus, they'll reimburse up to $300 in travel when booked through Capital One Travel. 

When booking travel, you can feel secure you're always getting Capital One's best prices with their free price drop protection and free 24 hour price match. 

These perks start to make the hefty $395 annual fee feel much more manageable. 

When it comes to earning points, you'll get 10x points for hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5x points for flights when they are also booked through Capital One Travel. All other purchases get 2x points for every dollar spent. 

You also get access to the Capital One Lounges and their partner lounge network. You can get you and 2 guests into the lounge each visit. While the partner lounge network is pretty vast, there is only one actual Capital One Lounge located in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, with two being built in the Denver and Dulles airports. 

Capital One adds TSA Precheck or Global Entry reimbursement to their no foreign transaction fees and travel perks. You also get peace of mind with cell phone protection, primary auto insurance, and travel accident insurance. 

American Express Gold Credit Card

Best for Foodies
starstarstarstarhalf star
4.5 out of 5 Overall
Key Features
  • 90K membership rewards points
  • $120 dining credit
This card is almost a no-brainer for foodies for whom travel is incomplete without the local dining experience. While the annual fee is a little high, the 4x returns on restaurants worldwide and $120 dining credit make the American Express Gold Card a tasty choice for international dining enthusiasts.
American Express Gold Credit Card
American Express Logo
Annual Cost
$250
Regular APR
18.99% - 25.99% variable APR
Reward Rate
1 - 4 points per $1
Credit Score
Good to excellent credit (670 and higher)
More Information about American Express Gold Credit Card

In many ways, the American Express Gold Card is an international foodie's dream. With the combination of no foreign transaction fees and 4x points for restaurants worldwide, this card rewards you for sampling the newest international cuisine.

You also receive 4x points on US supermarket purchases (up to $25,000 annually), 3x points on flights booked with airlines or at amextravel.com, and 1x points on all other purchases.

American Express Gold Card also offers a $120 dining credit. Basically, you earn $10 in statement credit monthly when you use your card to pay at select restaurants. Enrollment is required, but it's like free food money.

Speaking of free money, the Gold Card also offers $120 Uber cash credit. All you have to do is add the card to your Uber account and you'll get $10 of Uber Cash each month to spend on Uber eats or Uber rides in the US.

You also can get 60,000 membership rewards points in a sign up bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months.

These points can be transferred to American Express' 17 airline partners and 3 hotel partners. Most of the transfers are 1:1, but know that you will be charged $0.00006 per point with a maximum fee of $99 when you send them to US airlines.

While these perks are great, the annual fee is higher than most other similar credit cards. If you're raking in points, it can still definitely be worth it, but it's worth checking that you'll be spending enough in those categories.

Discover it Cashback Credit Card

Best for No Annual Fee
starstarstarstarhalf star
4.5 out of 5 Overall
Key Features
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories
  • 0% introductory APR
The Discover it Cashback card offers good rewards rates to earn cash rewards. You do have to activate rotating bonus categories each quarter, but with no annual fee, the Discover it Cashback is still a solid no foreign transaction fee choice.
Discover it Cashback Credit Card
Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
0% APR for 15 months, 14.99% - 25.99 % variable APR
Reward Rate
1% - 5%
Credit Score
Good to excellent credit (670 and higher)
More Information about Discover it Cashback Credit Card

The Discover it Cashback card offers 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories that change quarterly. You have to activate these categories because you aren't signed up for the bonus automatically, but we think the 5% return makes a little work worth it. 

The rotating categories are:

  • January through March â€" 5% back on grocery stores (excluding Walmart, Target, and warehouse stores) and fitness clubs or gym memberships
  • April through June â€" 5% on gas stations and Target
  • July through September â€"  5% on restaurants and Paypal
  • October through December â€" 5% on Amazon.com and digital wallet purchases  

You have to log onto your account to activate the bonus category each quarter. Also, each category has a $1,500 maximum rewards return. All other purchases receive 1%.

While getting your extra 5% cash back bonus category is a little complicated, getting your rewards into your pocket couldn't be easier. With Discover, your cash rewards can be deposited directly to your bank account, applied as a statement credit, or sent to Amazon.com or Paypal. 

As icing on the cake, you'll also get Discover's Unlimited Cashback Match where they'll give you a dollar-for-dollar match of your cashback earned automatically at the end of your first year. 

While there are no specific travel rewards with this card (Discover does have a travel specific card, but the reward rate of this card is better), it does have awesome customer service that's available to help you 24/7. 

One of people's main concerns with Discover is that it's not as widely accepted. Within the US, this is no longer true with Discover being accepted 99% of the time. Outside of the US, however, Discover's coverage is more limited in Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, which is why we couldn't give it 5 stars. 

Capital One QuickSilver Cash Reward

Best for Simple Cash Back
starstarstarstarhalf star
4.5 out of 5 Overall
Key Features
  • $200 new card member offer
  • No annual fee
With no annual fee, the Capital One QuickSilver Cash Rewards card's flat rate of 1.5% cash back on everything makes it an easy card to feel comfortable with. It's simple; you don't have to activate bonus categories or watch that you're purchasing the right things. You just spend and earn.
Capital One QuickSilver Cash Reward
Capital One Logo
Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
0% APR for 15 months, 17.99% - 27.99 % variable APR
Reward Rate
1.5%
Credit Score
Good to excellent credit (670 and higher)
More Information about Capital One QuickSilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One QuickSilver Cash Rewards card is a no fuss credit card that offers a decent return on all purchases. This simplicity does cost you a little in reward returns, but you can get 5% back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

We love the low intro APR with 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 17.99% to 27.99 % after that. Plus, they also currently offer a $200 cash bonus if you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.

Because Mastercard is the credit card issuer, the Capital One QuickSilver is accepted pretty widely internationally, so the no foreign transaction fees will come in handy.

Besides that, they offer $0 fraud liability, 24 hour travel assistance services, extended warranty, and travel accident insurance.

It might not be the way to earn rewards quickly, but the Capital One QuickSilver is a good option for simple earning and easy foreign spending.

United Explorer Credit Card

Best Airline Credit Card
starstarstarstarhalf star
4.5 out of 5 Overall
Key Features
  • 50K sign-up bonus miles
  • $0 fee for the first year, then $95
The United Explorer Card is one of our favorite airline cards with a $0 introductory fee, good reward returns, and some airport perks not offered by other mid-tier cards. If you fly with United, this card offers some really good perks for not that much out-of-pocket and is probably a good choice for your no foreign transaction fees card.
United Explorer Credit Card
Annual Cost
$0 introductory annual fee then $95
Regular APR
18.74-25.74% variable APR
Reward Rate
1 -2 miles per $1
Credit Score
Good to excellent credit (670 and higher)
More Information about United Explorer Credit Card

The United Explorer Card offers 2 miles for every dollar spent at United Airlines, restaurants, and hotels. All other purchases earn you 1 mile per dollar.

You can also currently earn 50,000 miles in a sign up bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, you can claim a $0 introductory rate for the annual fee, making the card an easy financial decision.

While traveling with the United Explorer Card, you get no forieign transaction fees, priority boarding, and a free checked bag for you and a friend.

You can also get a $100 TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS fee credit and two one-time passes to the United Club airport lounge. It's not a yearly membership, but for the annual fee, it's a nice perk.

As you earn points, you can achieve United's Premier Status which gives you preferred seating, upgrades, waived fees and access to Saver Award flightsâ€"flights offered at a lower miles rate.

The key value to an airline credit card is that it matches where you fly. Check out our 5 best airline credit cards to find the airline card that matches your flight pattern.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Best for Business Travel
starstarstarstarempty star
4 out of 5 Overall
Key Features
  • 100K bonus points
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
Offered by Chase, the Ink Business Preferred credit card is a good choice for most business owners. It earns you 3x points back on common business expenses and 25% more value when you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Chase Logo
Annual Cost
$95
Regular APR
18.99% - 23.99 % variable APR
Reward Rate
1 - 3x points per $1
Credit Score
Good to excellent credit (670 and higher)
More Information about Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

One of the biggest draws to the Ink Business Preferred card is the huge sign up bonus. You're rewarded 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. That's about $1,000 in cash or $1,250 in travel points on Chase Ultimate Rewards. 

Off the bat, that's a great start for a business card. 

You can also earn points on your business spending, earning 3 points for every dollar spent (up to $150,000 each year) on common business expense like:

  • Shipping
  • Advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines
  • Internet, cable, phone purchases
  • Business travel

Everything else earns 1 point per dollar, but these common business spending returns will probably more than compensate for the $95 annual fee.

Like other cards offered by Chase, you get 25% more value with your points when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or you can transfer them to Chase's airline or hotel partners on a 1:1 basis. 

Other business perks with the Ink Business Preferred card include free employee cards, 24/7 access to quarterly reports, fraud protection, trip cancellation insurance, and more. We especially like the cell phone protection plan which will give you up to $1,000 per claim for you and any of your employees listed on your bill. 

Petal 1 'No Annual Fee' Credit Card

Best for Bad Credit
starstarstarstarempty star
4 out of 5 Overall
Key Features
  • No Annual Fee
  • Starter credit limits
Petal 1 'No Annual Fee' Visa Credit Card is for borrowers with bad or no credit history that struggle to qualify for other credit cards. The card offers cash back at select merchants and a potentially high credit limit.
Petal 1 'No Annual Fee' Credit Card
Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
22.99% to 32.49% Variable APR
Reward Rate
2% - 10% cash back
Credit Score
Poor to no credit history (300 and higher)
More Information about Petal 1 'No Annual Fee' Visa Credit Card

If you're looking at this list and worried that you won't qualify for any of the cards above, the Petal 1 'No Annual Fee' Visa Credit Card might be the right choice for you. It's an unsecured card that offers no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

With this card, credit limits start around $300 but can go as high as $5,000. You can qualify for a credit increase each 6 months by making qualifying on-time payments and keeping your credit score within a specific, personalized range. Many 'bad credit' cards have much lower credit limits, so we love the possibility of such a high limit.

As expected, this card has a high APR that can really hurt you if you carry a balance. However, many similar credit cards charge an annual fee, so the fact that this one doesn't and you can still receive cashback at select merchants is a nice feature.

What is a Foreign Transaction Fee?

A foreign transaction fee is a fee that credit card holders pay for transactions that pass through a foreign bank. While we mostly think of foreign transaction fees applying when you visit a foreign country, they are also assessed when you purchase something from a foreign merchant or in a foreign currency online.

A credit card's foreign transaction fee is normally somewhere between 1% to 3% of the transaction. While this fee technically includes an issuer fee and a network fee, it is shown as one composite percentage to help you understand how much each transaction will cost you. Legally, this percentage must be communicated to the consumer, so you should be able to find it on your card membership agreement.

How much are Foreign Transaction Fees?

Foreign transaction fees normally range from 1% to 3% per transaction. Credit card companies are required to publish these fees, but make sure to read the fine print.

For example, some cards also have a minimum charge amount. This means for each foreign transaction you will be charged the greater of the percentage of the purchase or a set dollar amount (typically $1) â€" that makes your $2 water bottle purchases significantly more expensive.


Foreign Transaction Fee Comparison

Issuer Foreign Transaction Fee

American Express

2.7%

Bank of America

3%

Barclays

3%

Capital One*

None

Chase

3%

Citi

3%

Discover*

None

US Bank

Up to 3%

Wells Fargo

3%

*Capital One and Discover do not charge foreign transaction fees on any of their cards

What to Look for in a No Foreign Transaction Fees Credit Card?

What makes a good no foreign transaction fee card looks pretty similar to a normal credit card  â€" namely: APR, annual fees vs. rewards, and sign-up bonuses â€" but unlike a normal credit card, we also pay attention to the offered travel benefits.

APR

In an ideal world, you'll never need to worry about your credit card's APR. But, in case you end up not being able to pay your balance off in full each month, we think it's important to understand what you might be charged in interest.

You'll want to pick a card with a low APR, just in case you ever end up carrying a balance. We especially love the cards that offer a 0% APR as an introductory offer.

Annual Fee vs. Rewards

In essence, you want to make sure that this card isn't costing you more than the service it's providing you. While some cards offer $0 annual fees, the more expensive cards tend to offer more rewards â€" just make sure you'll be able to take advantage of them.

One thing you might check is that your spending habits line up with the card's reward system. It won't benefit you at all that your card offers 8% on Lyft if you never rideshare.

The other thing you should check is the amount of spending you plan on doing on this card. If you're not planning on using it for many purchases, then you will be hard-pressed to justify paying a steep annual fee.

It can take some strategizing, but you always want the annual fee/reward scale to tip in your favor, so make sure you're able to make the card worth it.

Sign-up Bonuses

Cards often offer extra miles or points as a welcome bonus if you spend a set amount on purchases within a certain period of time. This can be a really quick way to rack up points to use on rewards or travel.

Just make sure that the bonus requirements are achievable for you and your budget. Are you really going to spend $6,000 in 6 months with this card or would it be better to go with a card that requires $500 over 3 month for the bonus?

Travel Benefits

If you're looking into no foreign transaction fees cards, it's probably because you're thinking about traveling soon. Some credit cards offer some nice travel benefits that will make your traveling experience more enjoyable and less stressful.

Think about your future travel plans and what conveniences and features will enhance or protect your trip. Will you have a long layover where access to an airport lounge would be nice? Are you planning on springing for Global Entry or TSA Precheck so a card that reimburses you for these fees would be an added benefit? Check things like rental car insurance, lost luggage insurance, or even trip cancellation insurance.

These travel perks don't cancel out the importance of APR and the annual fee, but knowing what your card offers ahead of time will allow you to take advantage of all the perks and help the card to work the best for you.

Alternatives to No Foreign Transaction Fees Credit Cards

If opening up a new line of credit just isn't in the cards for you right now, there are other options available to help avoid fees and other costs from transactions overseas..

Exchanging Money Before You Leave

To avoid a new credit card, you can exchange your money for the local currency before you leave on your trip. Normally your local bank or credit union will have a better rate than if you wait to do it once you land. As a warning, one of the worst places to exchange money is at an airport kiosk where you'll pay a marked up exchange rate.

While working with cash may seem easier than opening a new card, we don't recommend it. Traveling with that much cash is a security risk. Plus, if your wallet is lost or stolen, you're just out of luck where a credit card would be able to be canceled and your money protected.

International ATMs

International ATMs allow you to avoid the safety risk of a large wad of cash by pulling money out as you need it. This is convenient, but you need to watch out for out-of-network ATM fees and even sometimes some foreign transaction fees. Some debit or credit cards reimburse you for out-of-network ATMs, but it's important to know your card's fees ahead of time.

Debit Cards

Debit cards can work as an option for international travel because it provides a lot of flexibility. You can often pull money from an ATM to pay with cash or just use it as you buy. Some like Discover even avoid all foreign transaction fees (but remember, Discover isn't as widely accepted internationally, so check before you go). Just remember that debit cards have less fraud protection than credit cards, so if it's stolen it's a lot harder to get your money back.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards are cards that you can preload with the foreign currency. You can even load your card when the exchange rate is in your favor which means you'll be protected if the exchange rate jumps while you're traveling. These cards often come with fees like ATM fees or inactivity fees so make sure to read the fine print. They also aren't as widely accepted as credit cards so check with places like hotels before you go.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Foreign Transaction Fees

We've rounded up the answers to the most commonly asked questions about foreign transaction fees and credit cards that don't charge them.

Are Foreign Transaction Fees Affected by Currency Exchange Rates?

Foreign transaction fees are not affected by currency exchange rates. A credit card's foreign transaction fee is set and published ahead of time, normally a 0-3% fee. This percentage is applied after the transaction has been converted to US dollars, so the exchange rate does not affect the foreign transaction fee.

What is Dynamic-Currency Conversion (DCC)?

Dynamic-Currency Conversion (DCC) is a type of currency conversion fee that is often offered for credit card transactions at touristy locations. Unlike other currency conversion fees which are from your credit card, the dynamic-currency conversion fee is charged from the merchant. The merchant charges you for the convenience of converting your purchase amount from the local currency to your home currency (known as the cardholder's preferred currency) at the point of sale. 

The convenience is that you get to understand how much the conversion is costing you upfront while you normally have to look up the cost later. The downside is it normally comes with an inflated exchange rate and fees. DCC might seem convenient, but it comes at a literal cost. 

Plus, because the transaction still runs through a foreign bank, you're still charged a foreign transaction fee if your credit card doesn't already cover those. 

Because of that, we suggest you avoid dynamic-currency conversion and simply purchase things in the local currency. 

When Do I Pay a Foreign Transaction Fee?

You pay foreign transaction fees when you use your credit card to make a purchase in a foreign country or with a foreign merchant â€" basically whenever your money has to go through a foreign bank. Mostly, this is pretty straightforward because you'll be paying for something with a foreign currency, but there are a few countries, like Panama or Turks and Caicos, that claim the U.S. dollar as their national currency. You'll still be charged a foreign transaction fee because your transaction will still be routed through a foreign bank. 

How Do I Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees?

The easiest way to avoid paying foreign transaction fees is to use a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees.

If a new credit card isn't an option for you, then you can avoid foreign transaction fees by exchanging your money ahead of time at your local bank. There is some risk to traveling with a large amount of money, so we don't recommend it.

You could also withdraw money using your debit card at ATMs in the country. Just make sure to check whether your bank offers ATM withdrawals for free and that there are ATMs you can use in this country.

Contributor Whitney Hansen covers banking, credit cards and investing for The Penny Hoarder. She also writes on other personal finance topics.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.



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